Eater NY brings news that the NYC location of Soul Daddy — the healthy soul food restaurant born from the NBC reality show America's Next Great Restaurant, has been closed after just one month of operating at the South Street Seaport. The Los Angeles and Minneapolis locations (on the third floor of the Mall of America) remain open. A statement from the company reads:
The realities of running a restaurant are very difficult, more so with multiple locations in multiple cities. After a careful review of the business model and the performance of the restaurants, we have decided that our best opportunity for Soul Daddy’s success is a more focused operation. We have decided to close our restaurant the South Street Seaport in New York, effective today.
The whole angle of the show was that the judges — Bobby Flay, Curtis Stone, Lorena Garcia, and Chipotle founder Steve Ells — were also investors in the concept (of an undetermined amount). Perhaps they didn't invest all that much money since they shut a location down so quickly?
Was it the food? When Bret Thorn of Nation's Restaurant News visited Soul Daddy with a bunch of restaurant CEOs, and called it "soul food without soul." Midtown Lunch called it "pretty good." Some would probably blame the light-on-foot-traffic South Street Seaport location.
As for the show, there was no mention of America's Next Great Restaurant at NBC's upfronts. Ratings were low, and it's assumed that it will not be renewed.